October is Cooperative Month

Did you know ...?

•    Almost 30 percent of farmers’ products in the U.S. are marketed through cooperatives.
•    The majority of our country’s 2 million farmers are members of the nearly 3,000 farmer-owned cooperatives. They provide over 250 thousand jobs and annual wages of over $8 billion.
•    More than 20 cooperatives have annual sales in excess of $1 billion.
•    The Farm Credit System has 500,000 borrowers with a loan volume of $53.9 billion.
•    Rural electric cooperatives operate more than half of the electric distribution lines in the United States and provide electricity for 25 million people.
•    More than 50 million Americans are served by insurance companies owned by or closely affiliated with cooperatives.
•    Retailer-owned food and hardware cooperatives make it possible for hundreds of independent store owners to successfully compete with large chains.
•    Credit unions have more than 70 million members and assets in excess of $300 billion.

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New fence at Rock Hill

Cemetery at Rush Hill, Mo. is final resting place of MFA founder.

Rock Hill Cemetery near Rush Hill, Mo., is MFA organizer William Hirth’s final resting place. The remote cemetery is as peaceful as ever, but a little brighter thanks to a nearby farmer. With support from the MFA Charitable Foundation, local farmer Harry Riechers led an effort to replace an old woven-wire fence with a white three-rail ranch fence. The project was finished in late summer.

Hirth, who spent his youth near the cemetery, was a great leader of the cooperative movement in the Midwest. In 1908, Hirth started the Missouri Farmer and Breeder Magazine (which evolved over the years to become Today’s Farmer). Hirth saw the difficult times farms were going through in the early 20th Century and figured cooperative action the best way to bring farmers into the mainstream of “modern” life. He used his publication’s editorial platform to call for the formation of farm clubs. Eventually, he became the clearinghouse for farm clubs that were springing up around Missouri, collecting group orders and submitting them en masse to manufacturers for tremendous discounts. Those cooperative efforts were the beginnings of MFA. Until his death on Oct. 24, 1940, Hirth had been elected president of MFA every year from 1928, resigning only 18 months to run unsuccessfully for the Missouri governorship. The epitaph tomb stone reads, “He loved agriculture and all things beautiful.”

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Reserve Grand Champion MO State Fair steer fed MFA

Evan Kempker, 21, of Jefferson City, Mo., won Reserve Grand Champion Steer at the 2011 Missouri State Fair. His steer weighed 1,295 pounds. Evan is the son of Dan and Diane Kempker and a member of the Eugene FFA Chapter.

Kempker sold the steer for $17,250 to MFA Incorporated along with Youth in Agriculture and hometown supporters. Kempker purchased feed from the Lohman MFA Agri Services.

Other winners who fed MFA feed included Claire Silvers of Eldorado Springs, Mo., who won overall Reserve Champion in the steer carcass contest. Silvers purchased MFA Feed from Golden City Produce Exchange. Austin Lasher of Hamilton, Mo., took grand champion honors in the lamb carcass contest. Lasher purchased feed from MFA Hamilton.

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About Today's Farmer magazine

Today's Farmer is published 9 times annually. Printed issues arrive monthly except combined issues for June/July, August/September and December/January. Subscriptions are available only in the United States.

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